The Beta Male Explained: Understanding the Loyal Lieutenant

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by  Joshua Sigafus | Last Updated: 

In my close circle of friends, I’m the alpha male.

We always meet at my house. I always coordinate everything. And before any plans are solidified, everyone runs them past me for final approval. 

But I have one friend in particular who makes double-sure that these small, yet meaningful ‘rituals’ are always adhered to. He’s a fiercely loyal friend and ally, and he gains many benefits for standing in that role. 

He’s the beta of our friend group. And it doesn’t take much to see how crucial his role is in maintaining the order and structure of the hierarchy.

From interceding for our friends’ emotional support, to reporting suspicious or potentially ‘problematic’ information to me whenever he becomes aware of it, he’s an integral ‘cog’ in the group’s social dynamic.

He helps to keep the group functioning properly, acting as an intermediary between the rest of the men (deltas and gammas) and I (the alpha).  

Are you a beta male? In this post, you’re going to learn exactly what it means. 

Common Misconceptions about the Beta Male

The most common misconception about the term ‘beta male’ comes from the early days of the pickup community. 

Back in those days, pickup artists would lump men into two groups. 

Alphas were the strong, powerful men who succeeded with women, and betas were the weak, loser men who didn’t. 

It’s important to note that this article is based on Vox Day’s socio sexual hierarchy. And thus, we aren’t using the term ‘beta male’ in its classic pickup-culture context.

The Socio Sexual Hierarchy

Vox Day’s socio sexual hierarchy is a system that describes how men and boys relate to one-another. It’s a categorization system that defines how men are likely to behave, and what their natural inclinations are likely to be. The system breaks men up into six different ranks. 

These ranks are: 

The definition of the classic ‘beta male’ as espoused by the pickup artists doesn’t align with the definition of the beta given within the socio sexual hierarchy. This definition carries a much more positive and fleshed out connotation. 

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A Note about Vox Day’s Socio Sexual Hierarchy

If you’ve done any research into the socio sexual hierarchy, you’ve already likely discovered that Vox Day is a controversial figure—and that his work is steeped in ideas that run contrary to many mainstream beliefs. 

With that being said, I don’t see his hierarchy as a ‘be all, end all’ system for categorizing men. I see it, rather, as a classification system that can help us to develop a more attuned ‘hierarchical awareness.’

As men, our goal should always be to level-up and become better men

And I see the socio sexual hierarchy as a self-awareness tool that empowers us to understand group dynamics and social dominance hierarchies. 

When you understand the rules of the game, you gain the power to practice and improve at it. That’s what it’s all about. 

Where Does the Beta Male Fit on the Socio Sexual Hierarchy?

The Socio Sexual Hierarchy

Alpha males are the ‘top dogs’ of the socio sexual hierarchy, and beta males are second-in-command. Beta males are easy to spot due to their close proximity and faithful allegiance to the leader. 

Beta males serve as loyal subordinates to the alpha. They lead the deltas and gammas on his behalf, enforce the rules of the hierarchy, and report back to the alpha. In return, they expect to partake in the benefits that come from being ‘the leader’s right-hand men.’ They desire recognition and shared credit from the alpha, and demand respect from the deltas and gammas of the hierarchy.

They’re also the enforcers of the hierarchy. 

The guy who comes alongside you to ‘warn you’ that your behavior probably isn’t going to win you any favors—that guy is most likely a beta male acting as an ‘enforcer’ for the alpha. 

Alpha Male vs Beta Male

The alpha male/beta male relationship is one of the most productive and useful relationships in the socio sexual hierarchy. 

In many ways, the beta male makes life easier for the alpha. He supports the alpha and enforces his rules/statutes with loyalty and zeal. And in return, he gains many of the benefits that come from existing at the top of the dominance hierarchy. 

Beautiful women, money, status, power, shared leadership credit, authority, respect—the beta male gains access to all of these resources and more for his hard work, effort, and support of the alpha.

Beta Male vs Delta Male

While beta males are the lieutenants of the hierarchy, deltas are the normal ‘workforce’ men. They’re the ‘blue-collar’ men. They’re the guys who get things done and perform the work needed to sustain the hierarchy. In the workplace, the deltas are the ‘common workers’ who create the value required to sustain the company and make it profitable. 

Betas and deltas have a very important relationship. Betas, as middle-management, generally have direct authority over the delta workforce. Betas who understand their role and the importance of giving the deltas what they need to succeed will solve problems for the alpha and make his job easier, thereby securing their position beneath him. 

Betas who fail to effectively lead the delta workforce, on the other hand, will only cause problems for the alpha—and this will reflect badly on them.

Betas lead the deltas. But they need to help and empower the deltas if they want to succeed in bringing order and structure to the hierarchy. 

Benefits of a Beta Male Lifestyle

Attractive Couple Outside on River With Woman Looking at Camera

There are many benefits that come with the beta male rank. 

First and foremost, the beta enjoys ‘insider access’ to the top levels of the hierarchy. This comes from their close relationship to the alpha

Betas are the alpha’s closest confidantes. They’re the men he trusts the most to get things done. 

In return, the alpha makes sure that the betas enjoy the status, power, and prestige that comes hand-in-hand with their responsibilities. This helps the alpha to establish loyalty with his beta lieutenants.  

Betas also tend to earn more than deltas. And along with access to greater wealth comes higher status and more power. 

Another benefit of the beta male rank is greater success with high-value women. Women may not lust after the beta males quite as intensely as they do the alpha—but they certainly appreciate his status, influence, and power. This makes the beta the second-choice for the most beautiful women of the hierarchy, and he enjoys rich success with the ladies as a result. 

Are You a Beta Male? 5 Common Beta Male Traits

1. They’re Loyal

Loyalty is the beta’s defining trait. In fact, Vox Day describes this vividly in a summary of what ‘beta fiction’ looks like. 

The good lieutenant is given great responsibility by his alpha. Loyally serves the alpha and accompanies him through thick and thin. At times, his loyalty is tested, the enemy even tries to tempt him into betraying his alpha by offering him a crown of his own, but he resists, he perseveres, and his alpha is triumphant in the end, at which point he publicly credits the beta and tells everyone how he could never have done it without the beta.

Betas derive fulfillment, validation, and satisfaction from serving their alpha faithfully. This fills them with purpose. 

They tend to believe not only in the alpha himself, but also in his mission. Sometimes they share the same ideals.

But more often, they’re drawn to those ideals because they believe in the alpha, and will follow him wherever he chooses to lead them—as long as they’re recognized and given credit for their loyalty and devotion. 

2. They Value Leadership

According to the 2013 Edelman’s Trust Barometer survey, 82% of employees don’t trust their business leaders to tell the truth. Many point at statistics like this as a sign that the modern business world is in a ‘leadership crisis,’ and they’re right. 

Nobody recognizes this more than archetypal beta males. 

Beta males serve as the intermediary between the ‘top dog’ and the ‘rest of the pack.’ They take orders from their strong alpha commander, and see those orders orchestrated throughout the ranks.

But here’s the thing about true beta males. True betas have no real desire to usurp their alpha. They actually appreciate and value quality leadership. And when they find it, they tend to remain fiercely loyal to the alpha providing it. 

Betas flounder when they aren’t provided with proper leadership. They’ll struggle to find their sense of purpose within the hierarchy. 

If a beta does manage to ascend to the commander-in-chief position, they may start out strong—but they’ll quickly crumble under the pressure. They’ll long for the days when they walked side-by-side with a powerful alpha leader who made their path clear, and their purpose certain. 

Betas at the top of the hierarchy ultimately struggle to hold it together. 

Why? 

Because they’re not alphas, and they aren’t well-suited to such a role. They value strong leadership, and deeply appreciate the men who provide it.  

3. They’re Popular with Women

Attractive woman flirting with a guy on a couch with a coffee cup 3

Beta males tend to do well with women. They’re powerful, high-status, and successful. They also tend to be good looking. 

They may not pull as many beautiful women as the alpha. And they may not have high-value women willing to line-up around the block to date them like the alpha male has

But nonetheless, beta males have a lot to offer—and women recognize this. They’re confident, charming, sure of themselves, and usually have a firm purpose in life. The fact that they have a greater purpose may be a huge turn-on to women.

But ultimately, it’s tied directly to their belief in their alpha leader—and this makes them less attractive than the alpha by default. 

But this also sets them head-and-shoulders above the deltas and gammas, who don’t usually have a much larger purpose than winning with women, getting paid, and living a happy life. 

4. They’re Usually Friendly and Well-Liked

When beta males are properly aligned with a powerful alpha, they have a strong sense of purpose, drive, and clarity. 

They know what they want. They know what to do. And this makes them truly capable middle-management-type leaders. It makes them friendly, well-liked, and effective.

In fact, when betas are properly nurtured and validated by their alpha, they can become powerful figureheads for the good of the hierarchy. 

They’re just not well-suited to exist at the top of the hierarchy. 

5. They’re Confident with Their Place in the Hierarchy

True betas have no desire to overthrow the alpha. They aren’t ‘closet alphas’ waiting for their chance to break free. They aren’t posturing gamma males who get-off on the idea of ordering people around. 

In fact, ordering people around isn’t what they care about. They only give orders because they desire to see the vision of their alpha brought to fruition, and to take part in their share of credit for the accomplishment. 

Betas are content as the second-in-command because that is exactly where they want to be. They believe in the alpha and in his mission, and faithfully serving at his side brings them a tremendous amount of satisfaction and fulfillment.

In the words of Oenomaus, spoken to his alpha-leader Batiatus in the popular television show Spartacus: Blood and Sand:

“Your will, my hands.” 

…spoken like a true, devoted, loyal beta male. 

Is the Beta Male the Best Position in the Hierarchy?

Attractive Business Man with Glasses and Wearing a Suit Shaking Hands in Cafe

One fascinating attribute of the beta male position is that it may be the best position in the hierarchy in terms of cost vs reward. 

In studies of male baboons, scientists have learned that alpha baboons enjoy more benefits than any other male in the tribe. But these benefits come at a weighty cost. Alpha baboons also have the highest stress levels. Only the very lowest-ranked baboons in the tribe have stress levels that can rival those endured by the alpha. 

Beta male baboons, however, enjoy almost as many benefits as the alpha, but at significantly reduced stress levels. 

Obviously, humans are not baboons. But we are closely related to them. And our hierarchy structures, while exponentially more complex, are eerily similar. 

Dr. Laurence Gesquiere of Princeton University, lead author in the studies, described it like this.

Baboons are not only genetically closely related to humans, but like humans they live in highly complex societies… An important insight from our study is that the top position in some animal — and possibly human — societies has unique costs and benefits associated with it, ones that may persist both when social orders experience some major perturbations as well as when they are stable. Author Name

In other words, being the beta male may be the most profitable position in the tribe when you filter the experience through a cost/reward analysis.  

This would explain why betas tend to be positive, well-liked, and popular. They’re thrilled with their lot in life, and wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Fascinating fact: If you want to learn about alpha and beta behavior among Chimpanzees, and how similar their behavior is to humans, consider picking up a copy of Frans De Waal’s classic masterpiece Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes.  

Drawbacks of Being a Beta Male

Of course, being a beta male comes with a few drawbacks. 

Betas without a strong alpha to lead them will find themselves listless and directionless. Betas may have a difficult time discerning a purpose for themselves in the hierarchy without the influence of a powerful alpha to guide and inspire them. 

Betas will also flounder beneath a weak alpha. An alpha who doesn’t understand how to lead properly will waste the loyalty of his betas. Betas who find themselves beneath weak or ineffective leaders often grow distrusting and disillusioned—which causes them to ‘give up’ on the mission. 

Such betas are prone to distraction. They’ll lack focus and follow-through, and may cause more problems than they solve. 

As a younger man, I went through a beta male phase. My alpha was the owner of the company I worked for, and I was fiercely loyal to him. I kept him in the loop about everything, and made it my goal to see his company grow as successful as possible. In return, I inherited many benefits. I got free dinners at high-end restaurants, I moved up the ladder quickly, and I had his ear on important issues. 

But after a series of dramatic and unfortunate events, I realized that he wasn’t treating his employees (the deltas) as well as he said he was. He wasn’t taking care of them, and was skimming funds that should have been funneled down to the workforce, to make their lives better. 

I saw such wasted potential in his leadership mentality. He could have accomplished so much to make his employee’s lives better. But in the end, the only thing he seemed to care about was squeezing every last dollar possible out of the company. 

When I realized this, the ‘fantasy’ I believed about the alpha was shattered. I suddenly lost all respect for him, and he lost my loyalty. I found another job and walked away from the company two days later. 

The Greatest Beta Male Weakness

Human head silhouettes on a grid showing consciousness

The greatest weakness of the beta male is his inability to accurately read the hierarchy itself. This is the foremost trait that separates alphas from betas. 

Alphas have a highly attuned hierarchical consciousness. They’re passionate about rising to the top, and are highly skilled at calculating the long and short-term effects of their decisions. 

Betas lack such awareness, which means that they require guidance from the alpha to avoid making unintended, yet costly and dangerous mistakes. 

This is another reason for why betas don’t make suitable top-level leaders. They’re literally incapable of judging the long-term hierarchical effects of their decisions. This can confuse them if they don’t have a hierarchically-sensitive alpha to lend guidance and instruction. 

Conclusion

Hopefully, this post has helped you to understand what beta males are, and how they fit into the socio sexual hierarchy. 

Whether or not you’re truly a beta, always remember this: 

As men, our goal is to continually level-up to become better, stronger, more capable men. 

Regardless of our role within the hierarchy, there’s a tremendous sense of pride to be felt just for being a man. 

Hold tightly onto that, and never let it go. Live your own authentic destiny, and become the great man you’re capable of becoming. 

For more tips and advice to help men live their best lives, subscribe to our YouTube channel

Go with grace, gentlemen. And never give up your power. 

FAQS

What’s it like to date a beta male?

Beta males are fun, confident, and charismatic. They’re also driven, and tend to be highly motivated. This makes them desirable as dating partners, and many women seek out betas as partners when they realize that they don’t have the dating marketplace value to secure an alpha-male as a partner. 

Women who date betas will enjoy his high status, his driven mindset, the power that comes from his close relationship to his alpha, and his good looks. But they’ll also have a keen, lustful eye for the alpha he’s loyal to, and may be tempted to cheat on him or upgrade later if given the chance.

Interesting Note: While a beta’s female partner may have eyes for the alpha, a powerful alpha who truly values his beta would never consider giving-in to such temptations. A wise alpha understands the value of his beta’s loyalty—and he would never risk it over something as fleeting and replaceable as a sexual experience with a woman.

How can you tell if a man is a beta?

Betas are easy to spot due to their close proximity and obvious loyalty to the alpha. 

Look for the ‘top dog’ in the hierarchy. Then look for the men who serve as his lieutenants, enforce his rules, and report to him with valuable information about the hierarchy. 

These men are the betas.

What’s a beta male personality?

Beta males tend to be relatively easy-going—much more-so than the alpha. Unlike the alpha, their entire life doesn’t revolve around the ‘mission’ or the ‘objective.’ They’re much more likely to enjoy down-time, to pursue hobbies, and to ‘settle in’ to a comfortable, secure life in their position. 

They’re not as likely to take outside risks as alphas or sigmas. They’ll trust in the order and stability of the hierarchy to provide them with structure and security. But within that structure, they will tend to perform their duties with efficiency and zest. 

The beta’s work ethic pales in comparison to that of the alpha. Even delta males will generally ‘outwork’ a beta when it comes right down to it. But betas have more charisma and a more powerful presence than deltas. They’re effective leaders, organizers, and enforcers—even if they aren’t as ‘powerfully leadership oriented’ as the alpha himself.

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